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Lethal Luc Earns Ealing Deserved Draw in Four Goal Thriller

21 Mar 2018

Friendly match – 20 March 2018

Ealing Independent College 2-2 Collingham College

Team: Abdullah; James, Jack; Brent, Josh, Hakim, Luc; Chifum

Scorers: Brent; Luc

After last week’s 5-1 humbling by MPW, long-serving Ealing boss Allan Cairns was back in the dugout, for the final time this season, and indeed his last match at the helm of the side. He oversaw perhaps the performance of the season from the whites, where they departed with a creditable share of the spoils, and almost emerged with an impressive farewell win for the coach. He kept faith with the same line up from last week - students who had shown their dedication to the Ealing cause over the last few months, and who have grown together as a unit, forging themselves into a team difficult to beat and looking increasingly dangerous in attack.

From the outset, Collingham, who earlier in the season edged a tight encounter between the sides 2-0, looked uncomfortable when put under pressure by Ealing. Bypassing the midfield, the whites were keen to go long early, whilst keeping the dangerous Blues’ midfielder out of the match as much as possible. It was from one of their pressing raids which Ealing drew first blood. Chifum robbed possession on the left and then clipped a searching ball over the Collingham defence with the outside of his right foot. All Brent had to do was control the ball and find the back of the net, and he did so emphatically, to put the West London outfit in the lead.

Collingham are a fine team and they caused some concerning moments when their passes found their mark. Abdullah made one good stop, tipping over the bar, before the Blues’ striker flicked an effort wide. It was straight from an offensive Ealing free kick though where Collingham finally managed to get themselves back on level terms. Jack had roved upfield in the hope of connecting with Luc’s free kick, but his absence left a gaping hole at the back and when Collingham cleared, an accurate trio of passes put their midfield general in the clear. He got his shot away early, with pace and accuracy, and though Abdullah managed to get his hand to it, he couldn’t stop it nestling in the corner.

The rest of the half saw both sides cancelling each other out. Cairns complimented the side on a superb opening half, and urged them to follow what had been working so well. Brent had been doing an impressive job of shackling the Collingham midfielder despite his goal, and the long balls were putting pressure on a flimsy blues’ defence. At the start of the second period, Ealing should have taken the lead. Chifum took advantage of some pinball in front of the Collingham goal to drive in a blistering shot. The ‘keeper saved but could only parry out to Brent. The pacy midfielder was desperately unlucky not to have time to set himself for what would have been his second. The best he could do was scoop the rebound over the bar.

Following this setback, the Blues began to take a stranglehold on this back-and-forth encounter. James was on hand to make some tremendous blocks while some close misses had coaches Cairns and Vale worried on the sidelines. A wonderful solo effort then seemed to come out of nowhere to nudge Collingham into the lead, their defender slaloming his way past three defenders before driving a shot beyond Abdullah. The Ealing stopper again made contact, but again couldn’t quite keep it out. The whites, and the coaches on the sidelines, were aggrieved that they couldn’t get a meaningful challenge in. Nonetheless, the dogged determination which the team has shown in the last few months again reared its head.

Ealing having been awarded a foul in a threatening location, Collingham were fairly lax about setting up a defensive wall. Their naivety was punished in an emphatic manner by Luc. The ever-present this season, who had been enjoying a solid game so far, urged on by his teammates to try his luck, let fly with a booming drive from the free kick which swerved and dipped viciously, kissing the post on its way into the top right hand corner, with the Blues’ ‘keeper floundering on the floor.

For a minute or so, Collingham were stunned, and it was in this brief period where Ealing could have snatched the win. A delightful flick through by Chifum found Josh who sorted his feet out well before striking a powerful goal-bound shot. This time, the goalkeeper was equal to it, but this was the best chance in the dying embers of an excellent game.

The game was a microcosm of the season as a whole. Some great moments, some awful ones, but in the end the team gave as good as they got, and they did so in the right manner.

Man of the match – Luc - An assured and hardworking display by the tall defensive midfielder. At a crucial moment, he strode up to hammer home an absolute screamer, instantly proclaimed goal of the season.

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